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Modern Indian Cooking Hardcover – Illustrated, January 1, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Silverback Books (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596372397
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596372399
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.8 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Both as a professional chef, and as a avid home cook, I must admit, when I first flipped through the pages of this new book, I was a bit skeptical: I'm not a huge fan of classical Indian cuisine; never had much luck recreating many classical dishes due to the inavailability of, or excessively high priced ingredients (ever try to find Cardamom seeds or Kaffir Lime leaves in your local grocery store without having to spend an arm to get them, or having to track down an Asian Market?!); and most of all, much of the classical Indian dishes I've eaten in my career have often been over-poweringly spiced, or just not to my tastes.

However, having said all that, this book and it's recipes have begun to change my mind. As a previous review had stated, yes, this book does not contain puritanic classical Indian recipes. But that's not what this book is about! As the title states, it's focus is on *MODERN* Indian cooking. Yes, this does mean that there is a lot of fusion cooking in this book. It also means that the recipes themselves are simpler, easier to produce, utilizing less exoctic ingridients, less prep time and less cooking time! Some would say that this could be a terrible thing, as it takes away from the millenia of refinement that Indian Cuisine has gone through. but in my earnest opinion, it's for the betterment of the cuisine, as it makes it far more accessible to the average *MODERN* American home cook!

The recipes run the gamut here, from simple and quick to the flavorfully complex and not so quick. Each recipe is accompanied with BEAUTIFUL photographs; clear and implicit instructions; recipes that do not require you to run to an Asian Grocery store to find some obscure ingreident; and best of all, they're EASY to make!
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Format: Hardcover
We gathered in my kitchen and around my table to share what we had learned while visiting our local spice markets and working through the pages of Modern Indian Cooking written by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna. A common sentiment was that this is a beautifully designed and photographed book full of so many recipes that it was difficult to choose which to make.

Once we began to peel the layers, we discovered that while the book is beautiful, there are some flaws. First was the lack of headnotes. The headnote is a vital part of a recipe - it can offer insight, additional information about an ingredient, a personal anecdote that makes the cook feel connected with the author, so many things that tie the book together and give it a soul. The headnotes were sadly missed. Second, with the abundance of unique spices it would have been helpful to have a glossary in the back or a section in the front that educated the reader about the spices that were widely found in the recipes. We found that the front matter about "Seasonings" wasn't as comprehensive or as detailed as we would have liked it to be. And finally, with sections of recipes for sides, rice, breads, and accompaniments, each recipe would have been well served to have some "serve with" ideas that cross-referenced other recipes.

As far as our cooking endeavors, recipes from most sections of the book were represented. We started with the Tangerine Carrot Cooler (p.167) then flowed into soup where two people made Curry Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblanos (p.40) with two different results - both tasty, one with a lot more heat from the poblanos than the other. Next was Ginger and Lemon Grilled Chicken (p.18) that won raves around the table. The salads we made included Carrot and Cucumber Salad with Spiced Mustard Dressing (p.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for traditional Indian dishes to make at home, then Modern Indian Cooking by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna isn't for you. My wife, who loves traditional Indian food, was disappointed because it wasn't what she expected.

The introduction says that this is "an attempt to recreate classic Indian dishes by using simplistic techniques along with a delicious juxtaposition of non-Indian ingredients." Many of the recipes struck me more as an attempt at a type of fusion cuisine, only driven by the spices of the southern, and not eastern, part of Asia. But this sort of combination is tricky - you can get a new take on classics, in which case you need to be grounded enough there, or you can try for something in between two cooking cultures, but that requires maintaining a balance and offering adroit flavor blends that offer complementary hints of each.

I find Modern Indian Cooking to stumble about this ground, so that you will see in the same soup and salad section a take on carrot and ginger soup (not all that startlingly new, even with mustard seeds and curry powder) and a curry corn chowder with roasted poblanos (and if you drop the curry powder, is similar to a corn chowder recipe I saw in Fonda San Miguel).

That's not to say that the recipes look bad. On the contrary, I'm looking forward to trying a number of them. But it's the overarching concept that I find weak. I think it would have been better to pick one ground: either simplifying Indian for western cooks, or sticking to modern approaches to Indian cooking. That said, it does offer many ideas for starting to incorporate Indian spices into western dishes, which could open new ways of practicing cooking for many.
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